House prices in Bristol: 2012 and Beyond
Perhaps unsurprisingly, house prices in the UK have been both depressed and volatile since the credit crunch hit in 2008. For many home owners who might otherwise have been looking to move, the uncertainty in the housing market in recent years has been problematic. And yet the buoyancy of the housing market during this period has varied considerably from one part of the country to another, and even different types of properties have seen a variance in fortunes. Bristol has been no exception.
The latest figures from the Land Registry showed that house prices in England and Wales have, on average, shown a slight rise of 1.1 per cent in the year to the end of October 2012. However, the geographical split was considerable: while average house prices rose by 7 per cent in London, properties in the north-east of England dropped in value by 5.8 per cent.
The south-west was more or less in line with the national average, with the Land Registry reporting a 0.9 per cent rise in house prices across the region. Encouragingly, however, figures for the City of Bristol over this period bucked the trend somewhat with a 3.3 per cent rise in prices over the previous year, and an average house price of £170,199. Breaking the Land Registry’s figures down by county and unitary authority, Bristol saw the fourth highest rise in house prices outside of Greater London (coming behind Brighton and Hove, Merthyr Tydfil and Surrey). The 3.3 per cent house price rise also shows quite a stark contrast between Bristol and its neighbouring counties: Gloucestershire house prices rose by 0.9 per cent, while Somerset’s prices dropped by 3.2 per cent over the year.
The Land Registry’s report also presented an interesting perspective on the house price performance of different types of property in England and Wales, with evidence of a far greater variance between property types than has historically been the case. In the year to October 2012, flats and maisonettes saw the largest increase in price, with an average rise of 2.8 per cent, while detached houses fell at the other end of the scale, increasing by only 0.1 per cent over the same period.
This could well have much to do with affordability in the current economic climate: the average detached house price was £254,378, compared with the £152,238 cost of a flat or maisonette. Other types of property fell between these two extremes, with semi-detached house prices rising by 1.5 per cent, and terraced houses by 0.6 per cent.
As we’ve seen in recent years, house prices – and the overall resilience of the housing market – will continue to be affected by interest rates, the lending attitudes of banks and building societies, and by broader economic factors. That said, many market analysts are cautiously predicting slow but sustained house price increases in England and Wales throughout 2013, with the south-west continuing to make a strong recovery.
Beyond 2013, other factors may also come into play. Rail improvements commencing in 2014 are set to reduce the journey time between Bristol and central London by around twenty minutes, and it has been speculated that increased demand could boost property prices in parts of Bristol by as much as 10 per cent beyond overall market trends.
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